Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Bubble Room Red Velvet Cake

3 3/4 c. self-rising flour
2 1/4 c. sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
3 eggs
1 1/2 tsp cocoa
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp vinegar
2 1/4 c.  vegetable oil
1 1/2 c.  buttermilk
1/3 c. red food coloring (this is NOT a typo)
16 oz. cream cheese
1 1/2 c.  butter
2 lb powdered sugar
1 c.  chopped pecans
  1. Preheat oven to 350°
  2. Sift together dry ingredients in a bowl.
  3. Add eggs, vinegar, oil, buttermilk, vanilla, and food coloring and mix well.
  4. Spoon into three greased and floured 9" cake pans.
  5. Bake 45-60 minutes or until layers pull away from the sides of the pans. (Check after 45 minutes, they will probably be done then).
  6. After cooling 10 minutes (no more, I don't know why), remove the cakes to wire racks to cool completely.
  7. Meanwhile, beat cream cheese and butter in mixer until fluffy.
  8. Slowly add in powdered sugar and mix until fully incorporate and smooth. (Personally, I'd increase the pecans by a cup, and add them into the frosting here, but Bubble Room doesn't do that)
  9. Layer the frosting between each layer of cake, and liberally over the top and sides. Top with chopped pecans.
*Recipe courtesy of the Fort Myers Junior League
If you found the cake unappetizing or heavy, you may have under-beaten the eggs. When I make red velvet cake, I cream together the sugar and oil first (I use canola instead of vegetable oil for a lighter flavor) and then add each egg, beating well after each addition. I literally beat the crap out of the mixture after adding each egg. By the end of your egg additions, your mixture should be almost twice as big as it was before you started--it should start taking on an almost "fluffy" appearance. You need to beat a whole lot of air into the eggs to keep a cake with this much oil from seeming heavy and greasy. After you've beaten in the eggs, add your dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk. Add the vanilla, food coloring, and vinegar last and mix. After you've added the dry ingredients (flour, etc.), don't mix too much or your cake will form a lot of gluten and will take on a bread-y flavor.

Monday, December 9, 2013


1/2 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
6 eggs, slightly beaten
1 stick of butter, melted and cooled
16 o. cottage cheese
4 cups shredded cheese (we use 2 cups Monterrey Jack and then 2 cups
of whatever else)
Whatever add-ins (like ham, tom, spinach)

Preheat oven to 350.  Butter a 9x13 pan.  Mix flour, baking powder,
eggs and butter; blend well. Add cottage cheese and shredded cheese.
Mix in your add-ins.  Season to taste and pour into pan

Bake for 45-60 minutes, until set.

Thursday, November 14, 2013


I got this from Anthony Bourdain's Rome episode.  Check it out here

Carbonara "Sauce"
2 eggs
parmigiano cheese
pecorino cheese
fresh coarse ground black pepper
olive oil
pasta  (thick spaghetti works well, but any long noodle probably works.  If you can make it fresh, it's even better)

Wisk 2 eggs.  Stir in equal parts of cheeses.  Grind in black pepper (be generous - the pepper really makes this dish pop).  Add a little olive oil.  Wisk/stir until you have a nice paste.

Slice pancetta into strips.  Pan fry in olive oil.

Add pasta fresh from the pot. It needs to be hot to "cook" the eggs and melt the sauce paste.  Spoon in carbonara sauce paste and stir quickly until evenly coated.  Plate. Top with fresh cheese.


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Shrimp & Grits

We picked up the recipe on a trip to Charleston, SC several years ago.  It has become a staple in our home.  We went to a cooking class at a place called Charleston Cooks! Maverick Kitchen Store.  This is my revised version of the recipe.

Shrimp Stock
shrimp shells
bay leaves
black peppercorns
white wine
1 tsp oil
water/chicken stock

Throw everything into a stock pot, cover and boil.  Strain.  Now you have shrimp stock.
*Tip: freeze the shrimp shells until garbage day so they don't stink up your trash.

stone ground yellow grits (white grits work too, but yellow are best).
heavy cream
chicken stock/broth (water if you must, but this makes them more rich)
corn (handful or so for texture)
garlic/garlic powder

Melt butter.  Add garlic and sauté.  Add cream.  Bring to boil. Add grits.  Add a handful or two of corn.  Add salt and pepper.  Stir until grits are tender.  Add more cream or stock to then out as needed.
*Tip: these grits are best served as soon as they are ready.  Once they sit, they will get stick together.

shrimp (peeled)
bacon (5 strips)
smoked sausage (in place of bacon or in addition to the bacon)
shrimp stock

Fry bacon.  Set aside to cool. Sauté sausage then set aside.  In same skillet, add diced onion and garlic.  Sauté until onions are translucent.  Add a small amount of stock to deglaze the skillet.  Add remaining stock.  Add sausage.  Chop bacon then add to stock.  Bring to boil then let simmer for a few minutes to let flavors mesh.  Add shrimp.

Dish grits into a bowl.  Add Shrimp and sauce.  Enjoy.